Financial Advice at ccha
Are you due a benefits check-up?
In 2021, ccha supported residents to claim over £250,000 in unpaid or ‘under paid’ benefits. Many people are not claiming their full benefit entitlement or are unaware that they are entitled to government support.
A recent example was a 50-year-old lady working part-time who wasn’t aware she could be claiming housing benefit. She met with our Welfare and Debt Advice Officer and now receives an additional £400 a month to help with her housing costs.
If you are struggling financially and want to know if you could be entitled to further support, please call our Welfare and Debt Advice Officer, Jane, for a benefits check-up.
One of our residents had a benefits check-up and received thousands of pounds in backdated money:
“Many, many thanks for uncovering the fortunate mishandling of my ESA benefits! I don't think there are words to express the gratitude that I am feeling, but I can tell you that I am almost walking on air.”
Government launches £500m support for vulnerable households over winter
These funds have been allocated to local authorities and each council will set up their own scheme (likely to run from November 2021 to March 2022) to allocate money to those who need it most.
Councils may use the fund to help with:
- Food vouchers
- Warm clothing
- Help with utility bills
This list is not exhaustive and individual councils will decide how and who to allocate funds to.
If you are struggling to afford the basics, you can apply for support through your council’s website - search for ‘Household Support Fund’ to find out more.
If you do not have access to the internet or need support to apply, please contact your local council directly or contact our Welfare and Debt Advice Officer for help to apply on 07384 255 630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Jane White, Welfare and Debt Advice Officer
“Vulnerable households across the country will be able to access a new £500m support fund to help them with essentials over the coming months as the country continues its recovery from the pandemic”.
Warm Home Discount
Jane has also been helping residents apply for the Warm Home Discount. This discount provides a £140 rebate on energy bills each winter for residents on certain benefits and low incomes (including working people).
It’s a one-off discount on your electricity (or gas) bill between October and March and is available to those who pay by Direct Debit, Pay as You Go and Prepayment meters.
Most of the main energy suppliers are part of this scheme and money is allocated on a first come first served basis to those who qualify. Make sure you put in your application quickly. Most schemes open in October and run until March, but many will close earlier when the fund has been used up.
You can do this online on your energy provider’s website or by calling your provider. You can also contact our Welfare and Debt Officer for help or if you are not sure if you qualify for the scheme.
It may be too late to apply for 2021/2022, but please do apply from October 2022 for next year’s scheme.
Changes to Universal Credit
You will have seen in the news about the changes being made to Universal Credit and will have noticed that the £20 a week ‘uplift’ to your benefit, put in place in April 2020 to support those on low incomes during the Covid-19 pandemic, ended in October 2021. You may be feeling the pinch, but it isn’t all doom and gloom.
The main ‘positive changes’ that could leave many working households better off include:
- A decrease to the Universal Credit ‘Earnings Taper’ – before December 2021, the reduction was 63p for every £1 earned over any work allowance (see below) for working claimants. From December 2021, the reduction will be 55p for every £1 earned – in other words, you get to keep more of your wages.
- Increase in Work Allowances - Parents who have responsibility for dependent children and claimants with a health condition or disability (known as Limited Capability for Work or LCW/LCWRA) are allowed to keep a certain proportion of their wages before any money is deducted due to earnings – this is known as the Work Allowance. Before this increase, this was £293 for those with housing costs (such as rent) and £515 for those without housing costs. From December 2021, work allowances will increase by £500 a year.
- National Living Wage – there has been an increase in the national living wage from £8.91 an hour to £9.50 an hour.
If you are struggling with your finances or just want to check whether you could be claiming more, our Welfare and Debt Advice Officer, Jane, is happy to help.